The special theory of relativity describes the motion and dynamics of objects moving at significant fractions of the speed of light.

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Derivation of length contraction from lorentz transforms

i have struggled to understand how length contraction is derived. My lecture book says: length in frame S is defined as $L=x(b)-x(a)$ and in S' as: $L'=x'(b)-x'(a)$ transforming $x'(b)$ and $x'(a)$ ...
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1answer
51 views

Is gravitation time dilation simply c/v?

Recently, I've been very interested in forms of time dilation. I'm relatively new to relativity, so I apologize for any stupid mistake I may make. I was messing with the equation for gravitational ...
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2answers
326 views

Does space between objects contract?

I had a question, let us assume a coordinate system where there is 2 objects moving at relativistic speeds (at same velocity) for the observer therefore the observer will observe the length ...
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1answer
98 views

Why $c$ is $3$ x $10^8$ times faster than a $1$ $m/sec$ car? [duplicate]

The value of of a dimensional constant like $c$ is often regarded as unimportant since it can be arbitrarily changed to any desired value by changing our units. For example, $c$=$3$x$10^8$ in $m/sec$, ...
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16answers
2k views

The origin of the value of speed of light

Meaning, why is it the exact number that it is? Why not 2x10^8 m/s instead of 3? Does it have something to do with the mass, size or behavior of a photon? To be clear, I'm not asking "how we ...
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1answer
59 views

Order of index in Lorentz transform

I am reading Schwartz's "QFT and the standard model". On pg 13 he gives the Lorentz transform of a rotation around the x-axis: $ \left( \begin{array}{cccc} 1 & 0 & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 ...
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5answers
265 views

Two clocks along different worldlines

I have been reading and watching videos about this subject for a while now. I just can not seem to grasp the idea. Let's say we have two clocks. I leave one at home and keep one in my pocket. Then, ...
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1answer
63 views

How fast do you have to be traveling in order to travel one light year in one year due to relativistic effects?

My apologies if my understanding is incorrect, but I believe that as you approach relativistic speeds you experience time dilation as compared to an outside observer. So taking into account this ...
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2answers
60 views

Does special relativity happen in reverse when you freeze?

As you travel faster and faster you experience time at a slower rate, so if you travel slower and slower you should experience it at a faster rate right? My thinking is that even if you are ...
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1answer
66 views

Do particles have spin because there exist spinor representations for the Lorentz group?

I am reading Peskin and Schroeder's An introduction to field theory. They first describe the spinor representation of the Lorentz group, and then they mention the fact that different particles have ...
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3answers
123 views

Is simultaneity in SR only a pedagogical tool?

In a very recent post here I recently learned that simultaneity has no meaning in general relativity; I can accept the answer and explanation that was given for that question. But then Harry Johnston ...
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1answer
38 views

How to combine Lorentz factors when boosting twice?

The problem came up when I was trying to solve the classical problem of a wire with current due to which a charged particle experiences a force. This force should depend only on the lorentz factor ...
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1answer
36 views

Multiparticle Mandlestam Variables Extension

So in 4D we have three Mandlestam variables for a 4-particle scattering process. This corresponds to $p_i^\mu$ giving us 16 degrees of freedom. Momentum conservation reduces this by 4, and we have 4 ...
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2answers
817 views

Do tachyons move faster than light?

I am trying to understand whether or not tachyons travel faster than light. The linked Wikipedia page shows some seemingly contradictory statements, and they are confusing. For instance, the first ...
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2answers
660 views

How do I actually calculate the Lorentz transformation of a field strength tensor

Say now I have an arbitrary field strength tensor $F$, and I want to boost it according to a Lorentz transformation matrix $(\Lambda)$ The transformation is given by $$ F^{'\mu \nu} = ...
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3answers
458 views

what is the kinematics of a particle with complex mass?

particles with real-mass have time-like kinematics ($ds^2 > 0$). particles with zero-mass have light-like kinematics ($ds^2 = 0$). particles with imaginary-mass have space-like kinematics ($ds^2 < ...
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2answers
714 views

Special relativity paradox and gravitation/acceleration equivalence

One of the features of the black hole complementarity is the following : According to an external observer, the infinite time dilation at the horizon itself makes it appear as if it takes an ...
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2answers
49 views

How to determine which object is moving relativistically?

Apologies in advance if I've overlooked some obvious point. In relativity, I know that there is no way to know if Object A or Object B is moving relative to the other. Each would see themselves as ...
4
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1answer
133 views

Are we traveling through time at the speed of light? [duplicate]

In the image below the y axis represents time and x represent velocity. Point D represents velocity c, point E represents 1 second per stationary observers second. What this chart is showing is as you ...
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3answers
4k views

Deriving the Lorentz Transformation

I have been trying to understand a more or less geometric derivation of the Lorentz transformation, and I'm getting stuck at one spot. The wikipedia article for the Lorentz transformation for frames ...
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1answer
60 views

Invariant equations of motion under Lorentz transformations

My question regards the statement that an equation of motion may be invariant under a Lorentz transformation I just finished watching the Stanford University special relativity lectures on special ...
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0answers
33 views

Electron's Frame Aharonov-Bohm Effect

In the electron's inertial frame the solenoid moves past it in the Aharonov-Bohm Effect. That means the electron sees a time varying vector potential which, by: $\vec{E}$ = ...
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6answers
2k views

Minkowski Metric Signature

When I learned about the Minkowski Space and it's coordinates, it was explained such that the metric turns out to be $$ ds^{2} = -(cdx^{0})^{2} +(dx^{1})^{2} + (dx^{2})^{2} + (dx^{3})^{2} $$ where $ ...
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2answers
286 views

Reunion condition in the Twin Paradox

In the Twin Paradox two twins initially at rest in the same reference frame are separated and take different journeys through spacetime. Eventually they are reunited. What is the condition for the ...
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2answers
139 views

No length contraction in thought experiment with co-moving measuring stick

Suppose a person standing on a platform were to observe and measure the length of a train passing by. Instead of the usual approach involving a clock and knowing the speed of the train, the person ...
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6answers
346 views

Detecting absolute motion inside a box

This is not a contradiction and I know it is impossible but still consider a thought experiment by me and point out if something is wrong. See the following picture and then the explanation follows. ...
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Relativistically what is the difference between internal and rest mass energy of a body?

Relativistically what is the difference between internal energy and rest mass energy of a body? Could you please explain both philosphically and mathematically?
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Twin simultaneity paradox. Do they both live for an equal amount?

In the above example, if the spaceship was at rest in space relative to an external observer, and a burst of light was released at 12:00AM by the onboard observer who is located within the spaceship ...
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1answer
48 views

Is there a name for the linear quantity corresponding to the (quadratic) “interval $\Delta s^2$”?

Recently it has been affirmed here (again) that the quantity called "interval (also 'spacetime interval' or 'invariant interval')" is referring to two (in general distinct) events as arguments, such ...
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2answers
88 views

Stopping a Body (travelling at the speed of light) [closed]

While, I read that if a body accelerates to the speed of light would have an infinite mass and therefore, infinite energy would be required to maintain the speed. A question popped up in my mind: ...
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3answers
102 views

Doppler shift and special relativity

I have been listening to an audio course on Special Relativity. In the course the teacher repeatedly says that the "laws of physics are equally valid for all uniformly moving frames of reference". ...
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2answers
52 views

Do photons have/contribute to mass?

Do electrons gain mass by absorbing photons during excitation and releasing them by returning to the ground state? Do photons have mass in the form of energy by $E=mc^2$?
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1answer
161 views

Finding the total energy in centre of mass frame

I'm working through a problem in a special relativity textbook (Woodhouse) and I'm having some difficulty. I have to show that if I have a particle of rest mass $M$, total energy $E$ colliding with a ...
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1answer
91 views

What would happen to the human body if we went almost at the speed of light? [duplicate]

If we were to travel almost at $299\,792\,458~m/s$, or the speed of light, what would happen to the human body? Would the human body stay the same or would there be consequences that would harm the ...
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6answers
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Do photons gain mass when they travel through glass?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that photons slow down when travelling through glass. Does this mean they gain mass? Otherwise, what happens to extra kinetic energy? I understand now ...
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1answer
67 views

Question about scalar product of 2 four-vectors [closed]

I'm looking for help to prove that $\mathbf{a\cdot b}=-ab\ cosh \ \theta$, where: $a=\sqrt{\mathbf{-a\cdot a}}$, $b=\sqrt{\mathbf{-b\cdot b}}$, and $cosh \ \theta$ is $\gamma$, for a Lorentz ...
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1answer
988 views

Causality and how it fits in with relativity

I was talking to my teacher the other day about Einstein's spacetime and there's one thing he couldn't explain about the nature of Cause. I may be being stupid or just unable to comprehend, thanks for ...
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1answer
39 views

Time dilation: reference frame [closed]

So I'm calculating how long it will take for half of some muons to decay for in a stationary observers frame of reference. They have a half life of 2.2 * 10^-6 and are moving at a speed of .98c ...
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2answers
105 views

Speed of light paradox [duplicate]

If I send two rockets from the Earth in opposite directions, at, say, 60% of the speed of light relative to the Earth, then relative to each other they are travelling at 120% of the speed of light. ...
-1
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1answer
42 views

Absoluteness of Simultaneity

I think this is a very important question because if simultaneity is absolute, then it shakes the foundation of relativity. But it was asked here a month ago, and no one answered it. Neither does ...
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0answers
34 views

Why wouldn't any Emission Theory work?

http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/teaching/HPS_0410/chapters/origins_pathway/#Emission Here, at the Emission theories of light, I loved the discussed theory. There seems to be a contradiction right ...
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0answers
27 views

Klein paradox in graphene

When considering the Klein paradox in graphene Katsnelson, Novoselov and Geim introduce a potential barrier (see http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v2/n9/full/nphys384.html). But I cannot understand ...
2
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1answer
62 views

If time-like paths are geodesics, what physical principle applies to space-like intervals?

If I have a number of particles interacting with one another locally, then the center of mass of the system moves along a geodesic. Taking this further with the particles interacting via an EM field, ...
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1answer
83 views

Problem understanding Lorentz invariance [duplicate]

So they usually started with "...This is obviously Lorentz invariant, because of the 4-vector character of the quantity,..., (and after a two page long derivation) another quantity is also obviously ...
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7answers
2k views

Quaternions and 4-vectors

I recently realised that quaternions could be used to write intervals or norms of vectors in special relativity: $$(t,ix,jy,kz)^2 = t^2 + (ix)^2 + (jy)^2 + (kz)^2 = t^2 - x^2 - y^2 - z^2$$ Is it ...
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0answers
50 views

Why do we hyperbolas for distance? [closed]

I'm confused about how distance is measured in spacetime. I've read a few texts that say that our normal distance equation doesn't apply because it violates causality and because it won't work for a ...
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2answers
211 views

Transverse doppler effect in light

In most books to explain transverse Doppler effect the following example is given: Consider a source that emits flashes at frequency f0 (in its own frame), while moving across your field of vision at ...
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0answers
16 views

what is the charge and current density in system K2? [closed]

Consider there are two inertial reference of frames K1 and K2 in which K2 is moving with the boost velocity of V in direction of X2. If someone at the rest in system K1 finds the charge density $ \rho ...
3
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1answer
53 views

Special relativity kinematics problem [closed]

I have this problem in SR kinematics. a spaceship travels near earth at c/2. it shoots off a light-ray at 45deg to its direction of travel (measured in its own ref frame). What is this angle in the ...
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4answers
125 views

Is it possible to not move?

Whenever we consider velocity, it is always from a frame of reference. This means that if I am travelling .5c, I'm travelling at a speed between the speed of light and my current frame of references' ...